Knowl. Manag. Aquat. Ecosyst.
Number 423, 2022
Anthropogenic impact on freshwater habitats, communities and ecosystem functioning
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Published online||02 June 2022|
Investigation of the first recent crayfish plague outbreak in Ireland and its subsequent spread in the Bruskey River and surrounding areas
Marine and Freshwater Research Centre, Department of Natural Resources & the Environment, School of Science and Computing, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology,
2 Department of Biology, University of Padova, via Ugo Bassi 58/B, 35131 Padova, Italy
3 Marine Institute, Rinville, Co. Galway H91 R673, Ireland
4 Irish Farmers Association, Irish Farm Centre, Bluebell, D12 YXW5 Dublin 12, Ireland
5 Department of Zoology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
6 Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, National Parks and Wildlife Service, 90 King Street North, Dublin D07 N7CV, Ireland
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 22 March 2022
White-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) is a keystone species found in western European freshwater bodies, where it has suffered drastic declines due to pathogens, competition with non-indigenous crayfish species (NICS) and habitat deterioration. In Ireland, populations of (naturalised) A. pallipes have been considered healthy and abundant mainly because no diseases or NICS have been reported in the past decades. The present study investigated a sudden mass mortality event that occurred in the Erne catchment in 2015. Molecular analysis confirmed that the cause of the event was infection by the oomycete Aphanomyces astaci (the causative agent of the crayfish plague). While in 2015 the spread of the pathogen appeared to remain confined to the outbreak’s epicentre and nearby upstream waters, follow up surveys using conventional methods and environmental DNA (eDNA) approaches indicated that by a year later (2016), the pathogen was still present and had spread downstream beyond Lough Gowna. No NICS were detected during the surveys conducted. This crayfish plague outbreak is of grave concern to Irish white-clawed crayfish and associated ecosystems.
Key words: Austropotamobius pallipes / Aphanomyces astaci / crayfish plague / environmental DNA / Ireland
© L. Mirimin et al., Published by EDP Sciences 2022
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